Mind healing body

The Inner Healer: Mind-body Strategies for Health

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J Nurse Pract. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2010 May 1.

Published in final edited form as:

J Nurse Pract. 2009 May 1; 5(5): 374–375.

doi: 10.1016/j.nurpra.2009.01.012

PMCID: PMC2754856


PMID: 20160987

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Mind-body therapies are among the most widely recommended and used form of complementary and alternative medicine. Nursing has long championed these interventions, citing the healing potential of the mind on physiological systems. Professional beliefs about the inherent holism of the human being are now supported by advances in science; there is basic bench research that now suggests an observable connection between protein expression and stress, mood and hormones as well as the information transduction between the limbic, autonomic, endocrine, immune and neuropeptide systems.1-2 Recent research using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scanning also provide insight about how mind-body therapies work (the mechanism of action) as well as the linkages between brain activity, intervention and physiological/behavioral/emotional changes.3

The public has increasingly embraced mind-body therapies. There were significant increases in the use of meditation, yoga and deep breathing between 2002 and 2007.4 Almost 12.7% of the US population reported using deep breathing, while over 9.4% of adults engage in meditation. 4 Yoga was practiced by almost 20% of the surveyed adults and recommended by providers for problems associated with chronic osteoarthitis pain and stiffness, hypertension, depression and anxiety.4 A recent survey of practitioners working with underserved populations similarly reported use of meditation, relaxation and breathing exercises in their population, citing the ease of use and low cost of these self-help strategies to mitigate anxiety, depression and chronic pain.5

Strategies and techniques that rely on the powerful influences of thought, emotion, and mental imaging to positively impact the body are identified as mind-body therapies. These techniques include guided imagery, relaxation, hypnosis, biofeedback, meditation and breathwork? Is this just deep breathing?. Body-mind therapies ascribe to the same theoretical basis, but use body movement to modulate mental/emotional states that ultimately affect physiological function. Body-mind techniques include tai chi, yoga, dance, qigong, mindful walking and even therapeutic gardening. Full descriptions of common mind-body therapies can be found at the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality and Healing website at http://takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/

Mind-body approaches rely heavily on self-care, personal motivation and patient knowledge for implementation. Practitioners who recommend their use to patients are often called upon to provide basic education that describes when and how to perform many of them. Professional resources are plentiful and include available DVDs, CDs, online instructions, books and print media. Reliance online resources for practitioners include those found in .

Table 1

Online Mind-Body Resources for Practitioners

http://www. how-to-meditate.org/

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Reliable patient resources are also available, including online guided meditations, daily guided imagery exercises, deep breathing guides and mindful movement. Self-help sites that have been used successfully by patients and recommended by providers over several years for daily meditations, breathwork, relaxation and guided imagery sessions include those in .

Table 2

Online Resources for Patients:

http://www. ahna.org/Home/ForConsumers/HolisticModalities/tabid/1921/Default.aspx

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Some mind-body therapies require referral to qualified providers. Hypnosis, effective in acute and chronic pain, sleep disorders, addictions and smoking cessation, should be provided by hypontherapist certified by the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. A list of professionals in your area can be found at www.asch.net. Similarly, there are claims that biofeedback reduces blood pressure, improves success in weight loss and smoking cessation and decreases symptoms associated with irritable bowel and chronic gastrointestinal disorders. Biofeedback should be administered by therapists are certified by the BCIA (Biofeedback Certification Institute of America). Qualified practitioner can be identified at www.bcia.affiniscape.com.

Body-mind therapies present additional challenges to the referring NP. Referrals should be provided only after you are confident that the patient can physically tolerate the various movements, positions and environmental stressors required by the different techniques and practices. For example, there are many systems of yoga. Each system has different requirements; some may focus on simple stretching exercise/poses that improve flexibility and mobility, while others may involve intense heat, perspiration and physical intensity as a way to cleanse the body. Therefore, patient needs and abilities should be matched with the type of yoga that is recommended and the school or practice that the patient is referred to. For additional information about safely recommending yoga, visit http://www.csh.umn.edu/modules/index.html and review the free on-line continuing education module on yoga therapies.

There is increasing evidence about the effectiveness of mind-body therapies from clinical trials research and meta-analyses. Mind-body therapies have been found to be effective in preoperative anxiety, acute and chronic pain syndromes, symptoms associated with chemotherapy and radiation, depression, chronic mental illnesses, post-traumatic stress disorders and addictions.6 There is preliminary scientific evidence, as well as strong anecdotal and clinical evidence, that these therapies maybe useful to enhance immune function, modify cardivascular changes associated with coronary artery disease, reduce recovery time from surgical procedures and decrease neurological symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease.3 Yet, systematic reviews of studies about these therapies have found that most of the evidence is weak, that studies are often poorly designed and that sample sizes are small.6 Therefore, ongoing research about mind-body therapies is a focus of multiple institutes at NIH with a goal to better understand the effects of these therapies on disease outcomes, symptom management, quality of life and patient resilience.

Publisher's Disclaimer: This is a PDF file of an unedited manuscript that has been accepted for publication. As a service to our customers we are providing this early version of the manuscript. The manuscript will undergo copyediting, typesetting, and review of the resulting proof before it is published in its final citable form. Please note that during the production process errors may be discovered which could affect the content, and all legal disclaimers that apply to the journal pertain.

“This publication was made possible by Grant Number T32 AT001287 from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NCCAM, or the National Institutes of Health.”

1. Davidson RJ, Kabat-Zinn J, Schumacher J, et al. Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine. 2003;65(4):564–570. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

2. Rossi E. The psychobiology of mind-body healing. W.W. Norton & Company; New York, NY: 1993. [Google Scholar]

3. NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Mind-body medicine: An overview. Available at: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/whatiscam/mind-body/mindbody.htm. Accessed January 20, 2009.

4. Barnes PM, Powell-Griner E, McFann K, Nahin R. Advance Data from Vital and Health Statistics. National Center for Health Statistics; Hyattsville, MD: 2004. Complementary and alternative medicine use among adults: United States, 2002; p. 343. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

5. Koithan M, Maizes V, Cook P, Konkel K. The use of complementary and integrative care in medically underserved US populations. in review. [Google Scholar]

6. Cochrane Collaboration – Cochrane Reviews Available at : http://www.cochrane.org/reviews/en/topics/22_reviews.html. Accessed January 24, 2009.

Use Your Mind to Heal Your Body

There's a good reason you feel like a goddess when you walk out of yoga class, and it's not because you finally got your money's worth out of your gym. It's because yoga and similar mind-quieting methods have the potential to work as well as many medications at treating what ails you. "We now have compelling scientific proof that the mind can heal the body," says Herbert Benson, M.D., director emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and author of Relaxation Revolution. The latest promises:

Your body dials down stress. Dr. Benson's research has found that mind/body practices—meditation, yoga, tai chi, deep breathing, visualization—all elicit the relaxation response, quelling the release of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Your heart slows, blood pressure falls and digestion eases.

Your immunity soars. The relaxation response causes cells to release micropuffs of nitric oxide, a gas that dilates blood vessels and stabilizes the immune system, Dr. Benson reported in Medical Science Monitor. Mind/body methods worked as well as drugs designed to do the same thing, without the side effects.

Your brain grows. As you get older, your brain begins to shrink. But in a study in NeuroReport, researchers discovered that the prefrontal cortex and the anterior right insula, areas linked to attention and sensory processing, were thicker and more robust in those who meditate. "It's like exercise for the brain, making it stronger," says Rick Hanson, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist in San Rafael, California, and author of Buddha's Brain.

Your genes change. Here's the real slap-your-forehead news: In a study in PLoS ONE, Dr. Benson compared the genes of 38 people, half of whom meditated regularly and half of whom never did. Controlling for other factors, he found that genes associated with stress-related illness behaved differently in the two groups. "These genes control not only stress but also premature aging and inflammation," he says. It seems meditators' genes were essentially telling their body to stress less and age more slowly.

Despite the powerful evidence, 45 percent of you remain skeptical of mind/body medicine, according to a Self.com poll, and 2 percent say it's out-and-out baloney. Read on and we guarantee you'll change your mind—and your body, too.

Your relaxation Rx

Which mind/body treatments have the most rock-solid science backing them up? Brent Bauer, M.D., director of the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, provides the big picture.

__For…__Try… Back painYoga High cholesterolQigong DepressionMusic therapy, qigong, yoga Eating disordersMeditation, yoga FertilityVisualization, yoga Heart healthDeep breathing, qigong, yoga ImmunityBreathing, chants, meditation, qigong InsomniaAcupuncture, visualization, yoga Joint painMusic therapy, qigong, yoga MigrainesAcupuncture, yoga### The #1 health habit you're not doing... yet

Only 13 percent of SELF readers meditate regularly, but two thirds of you say you'd be willing to give it a try. What's holding you back? Avoid your biggest roadblocks to inner peace and find your way om.

Roadblock 1: "I don't know how."
Twenty-nine percent of you merely need instruction, so here goes: Pick something simple and recurring to focus on, a mantra. "It could be your breath, a prayer or a saying, like, 'May this be a good day,'" says Hanson, who teaches meditation. Then repeat it in your head as long as you can, up to 20 minutes. "If you get distracted, that's OK," he says. Gently refocus until the mantra has recaptured your attention.

Roadblock 2: "I have no time."
Stop everything to do nothing? No can do, say 18 percent of you. Luckily, you may get benefits from meditating for as little as five minutes. If even that's a stretch, you can reduce stress simply by doing daily chores more mindfully. "Staying steadily, attentively present with everyday tasks such as doing the dishes or brushing your teeth can be a calming, informal kind of meditation," Hanson says.

Roadblock 3: "I can't sit still."
Patience is the issue for 36 percent of you. Instead of fostering a quiet mind, meditation sets off a mental ticker tape of to-do and should-have-done lists. If you're a fidgety or anxious type, try a walking meditation, Hanson says. As you stroll, focus on the sensation of breathing or on your footfalls. Walking not active enough? Yoga, tai chi and jogging can all elicit the relaxation response.

Breathing lessons

There may be no quicker way to trigger the magical relaxation response (and all the good genetic changes that come with it) than by controlling your breath. Not only will deep breathing lower your blood pressure, but recent research shows sucking wind, as it were, can also increase antioxidant levels in your blood, helping protect you from oxidative stress and all the dastardly conditions associated with it, including heart disease, hypertension, Alzheimer's disease and plain ol' aging. It's sort of silly to think you'd need instructions on how to breathe, but trust us and try this exercise from Dr. Bauer, who is also the author of the Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine. Do it twice a day, and you'll feel better.

  1. With eyes closed and shoulders relaxed, inhale through your nose for six counts. Expand your belly, not your chest.

  2. Try to hold your breath for four counts.

  3. Exhale through your mouth for a count of six. Repeat the sequence three to five times.

It's not all in your head

But a heck of a lot of it is. Tap into the amazing power of placebo.

52 percent of you feel wholeheartedly that mind/body medicine works—and that belief alone may make it true. A study in The Journal of Neuroscience shows that if you are feeling discomfort and are given a placebo you believe to be a painkiller, your mind will instruct your body to release feel-good endorphins. And the effect is lasting:

79 percent of depressed people who responded to a mere placebo had avoided relapse even after 12 weeks, the Journal of Psychiatric Research reports. The studies used sham pills as a placebo, but you can use mind/body methods for yours. But do note: Research says folks who get real meds, plus a placebo, feel the most relief. Dr. Benson's take? "Use your innate powers and the pills."

Wait. Yoga can help cure that?

Those Sun Salutations, Downward Dogs and Chaturangas are your ticket to much more than sexy curves and a lean body. Choose the right method and you can pose your way out of…

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Back pain

What we know People who attended only one 90-minute yoga class a week for 16 weeks reduced their back pain by two thirds and their pain medication usage by 88 percent, according to one study in the aptly named journal Pain.

How it works One of many theories: Pressing into the floor activates your pressure receptors, blocking the neural pathways that signal pain, suggests Tiffany Field, Ph.D., director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami.

Which type to try Skip the hard-core yoga and emphasize meditation and stretching. "Tight muscles can be a factor in pain, and calming your nervous system will help relax them," says Timothy McCall, M.D., author of Yoga as Medicine.


What we know Still more proof of yoga's power to alleviate ouches: Migraine sufferers who took up the habit for three months reported fewer and less intense headaches, a 2007 study in the journal Headache shows.

How it works For starters, yoga reduces cortisol by relaxing you. "Nasty stress hormones only aggravate pain," Field says. Yoga also promotes better sleep, and the more soundly you snooze, the fewer pain chemicals your brain secretes.

Which type to try As with treating back pain, pick a calming practice, Dr. McCall advises. Zenning out in a long Savasana (Corpse pose) at the end of class will help. So will focusing on exhalations. If it feels good, make each twice as long as your inhalations.


What we know People on antidepressants who added thrice-weekly yoga for two months said they felt less depressed, anxious and angry, University of California Los Angeles research notes. In 65 percent, their depression went into remission.

How it works Your hormones are at work here, too. "Yoga helps your body produce serotonin, a natural antidepressant, and helps lower cortisol levels, which are elevated in people with depression," Field says.

Which type to try If you're in a slump (but still fairly fit), energizing poses such as Sun Salutations may lift you out of it. "There's a misconception that yoga is only about relaxation," Dr. McCall says. "Some practices can stimulate you."

Eating disorders

What we know Could a yogi heal your eating issues? In a recent study of 50 adolescent girls with eating disorders, scientists found that an hour of yoga a week for eight weeks reduced subjects' symptoms and their overall preoccupation with food.

How it works Anxiety and depression pop up more often in people with eating problems, says study coauthor Amber Frye-Johnson, a research scientist at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. Yoga fans have lower rates of both.

Which type to try "All yoga makes people more accepting and loving toward themselves and their body," Dr. McCall says. You may need a relaxing or energizing class based on symptoms. Consult your doctor and YogaAlliance.org to find the right one.

Chanting with the stars (and more la-la moves)

2010 Getty Images

Mel B.

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Treatment Reiki for stress

What she says The former Spice Girl says Reiki—in which a healer lightly touches you, supposedly transferring energy—helped her cope during the delivery of her youngest daughter, now 3. "Sometimes you can create lots of panic and problems," she told British OK! "I think [Reiki] helped me relax. "

What science says Try it if you'd like, but don't count on major results. A 2008 review in the International Journal of Clinical Practice found that there aren't enough solid studies to show that Reiki works. Still, the lying-still-for-30-to-90-minutes part of the therapy may help you chill out, which could lower your blood pressure and heart rate.

Mariah Carey

Treatment Acupuncture for the promotion of fertility

What she says Carey took up needling after a miscarriage in 2008. Happily, her first child is due this spring. "People who know me would be, like, 'You scheduled acupuncture at a certain time every day?'" she told Access Hollywood.

What science says Studies are mixed and subjects were women who exclusively used in vitro fertilization. (Carey says she didn't.) A 2008 review concluded acupuncture produced 65 percent better odds of pregnancy. Five months later, however, a larger review in the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found needles had no effect.

2010 WireImage

Courtney Love

Treatment Chanting for anxiety and depression

What she says Love has been known to spend two to three hours a day chanting repetitive prayers created by ancient yogis. "It kills anxiety and depression dead," she told The Telegraph.

What science says Dooo it. Dooo it. Chanting confers all the benefits of meditation and helps blood flow in two parts of the brain that regulate stress, Nuclear Medicine Communications reports. But no need to emulate Courtney (please!). A mere 12 minutes a day improves memory, energy and mood, says Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D., medical director of the Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation, in Tucson, Arizona.

Uma Thurman

Treatment Gemstone therapy for fatigue

What she says Thurman has reportedly donned an orange carnelian necklace to boost vitality. The idea is that gemstones embody energy that encourages cells to heal.

What science says "Can we say from a scientific standpoint that a gem can help your body? No," says Dr. Bauer of the Mayo Clinic. "That said, if you want to hang an amethyst in front of your breakfast bowl, I can't argue too much. It's pretty."

Get your qi on

More than half of you say you've never heard of qigong. But the ancient Eastern practice, also known as Chinese yoga, can ease a long list of ailments, including heart disease, bone loss, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. Try these moves from Samuel Barnes, star of the DVD Element: Tai Chi for Beginners. (Tai chi is a form of qigong.) "You'll strengthen your immune system and feel your energy surge," he says. Hooked? Find a teacher at QigongInstitute.org.

Lifting Hands Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, hands hanging down in front of thighs. Inhale and lift both hands to chest level, leading with the wrists (as shown). Then exhale and bring hands back to thighs, "painting the wall" with fingertips. Repeat for two minutes.

Universal Post Stand with heels together, toes out at a 45-degree angle. Bend knees slightly; shift weight into center of left foot; step right, weightless, foot forward. Shoulders relaxed, pretend you're hugging a giant beach ball against your chest (as shown). Close eyes; breathe deeply for two minutes. Switch feet. Repeat.

Triple Heater Stimulator Feet together, clap hands in front of forehead and rub palms together for 10 seconds to create warmth (as shown). Next, clap and rub in front of heart, then repeat in front of navel. Inhale, bringing hands in prayer position to head. Tuck chin and hold breath as you rub lower back two to five seconds. Exhale.

"I tried it"

Needles for blood pressure
Acupuncture so terrified me that it should have made my blood pressure worse. Yet here I was, having a man perform a task that had the actual word puncture in it. I was in my second trimester of pregnancy, and my blood pressure read a worrisome 140/100 at my OB's office. I was willing to try anything to fix it.

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I began seeing Jason twice a week. He adjusted pillows and blankets for me. He listened to my story and asked after my family. I swear I could hear a pop as he punctured (yes) my skin. But the room was warm and cozy. And when I returned to my OB, I was holding a scrap of paper showing a normal reading of 110/80.

I've heard of white coat syndrome, in which vitals get worse simply because you are in the company of a doctor. I think part of what made my pressure drop in Jason's office was the opposite—a sort of kindness syndrome, in which a medical professional gives you the time you need, puts his hands on you, looks you in the eyes and tries to understand you. I'm glad that acupuncture helped my blood pressure. But I'm even more grateful that for those few hours, over those few months, it helped me. —Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Qigong for cancer
I was 32 years old and five months pregnant when doctors told me I had colon cancer. At that time, in 1996, it felt like a death sentence. Still, I told them I wanted to deliver the baby and then focus on the cancer—I had gone through eight miscarriages, and this time, I was really having a baby. That's all I wanted to think about.

After my son was born, I had a six-hour surgery to remove my colon. But six months later, I learned the cancer had spread: I had a huge tumor in my liver. Surgery was difficult—40 percent of my liver was resected. Doctors offered up chemo but said they honestly didn't know if it would help. I told them, 'I've spent too much time in hospitals, away from my son. I don't want it.'

Then I met Shane. He was an incredible athlete who had never smoked yet had lung cancer. He told me about qigong, and I went to our local wellness center and joined a class called Chi-Lel Qigong. The master taught us to direct life energy: We used meditation and hand movements to direct the qi to our body parts. The point is to use your mind to overcome your 'matter.' It was calming, while also making me feel present and alert. The energy 20 people gave off was so positive. You could feel it!

The instructor told me this is not a once-in-a-while thing; to heal myself, Qigong would have to be part of my life. And it has been for 13 years. I am cancer-free, and my liver regenerated. I go in yearly for blood work, and the oncologists says that's all I need to do. I'm so grateful that I've been able to stay and watch my son grow. Who knows why people really get better? But this is what worked for me. —Cris Epstein, as told to Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn

Hypnosis for stomachache
The gnawing pain in my abdomen arrived one morning and wouldn't quit. When one specialist after another failed to help, my therapist suggested hypnosis. I sat on her couch, my eyes closed. "Feel how the couch supports your body," she intoned. I felt lighter, as I let the couch, not my muscles, hold me up. In the same monotone, she instructed me to relax my body. I imagined a flickering flame as I fell into oblivion.

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Yet I could still hear her talking. About a mental dial I could turn down. About a word I could choose that, when I said it later, would dull the pain. After 45 minutes, she counted backward from 10 and I was out of it. The agony was not gone, but it was dulled.

My therapist told me I could do the same exercise at home—self-hypnosis. I used it until, after five years of pain, a new doctor finally pinpointed the cause: an intestinal parasite. A few antibiotics later, I was well.

I still use self-hypnosis, now and again, when I want to quiet my mind. I like that awake-falling-asleep feeling. And I like, too, having a tool that I can wield to help myself when medicine can't—or when I don't like what medicine has to offer. —Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn

Paradise in 1 minute flat

Get comfy, take a few breaths, and picture yourself on a beach. Feel the soft, pink sand, and listen to the steel drums. Visualization takes you on vacation: "When you imagine a serene image, the optic cortex is activated in the same way as when you really see the vista," Dr. Bauer says. The brain relays your bliss to the endocrine and autonomic nervous systems, lowering your heart rate and blood pressure and goosing immunity. Imagine that.

Reboot your iPod: Now it's a painkiller!

For headaches or joint pain, groove out. Chronic pain sufferers who listened to music for an hour a day for seven days reduced their hurt by 20 percent, according to a study by Sandra L. Siedlecki, Ph.D., senior nurse researcher at the Cleveland Clinic. The key is to choose tunes that recall a time when you were happy and free from pain. "Usually, we listen to music to validate how we feel. That's why we play sad songs after a breakup," Siedlecki says. "But to use music therapeutically, you need to listen to songs that make you feel the way you want." Fill out this cheat sheet to create an ouch-ending playlist.

The song I've requested of every wedding deejay I've ever encountered: ______________________________________

I dance naked in my bedroom to ________________________

I cannot not bop my head along to ______________________

The tune I'm most likely to belt out at the top of my lungs on a road trip: ____________________________________

The song that has occasionally been known to inspire me to do the Robot: ____________________________________

I'm not at all embarrassed to tell you that I know every word to _________________________________________________

My prom* theme song: __________________________________

My no-fail seduction song: ______________________________

The song that puts me to sleep (in a good way): __________

*If you had a good time!

Photo Credit: Sally Gall/Gallery Stock. Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for IMG. Tom Belcher/Capital Pictures/AdMedia/Sipa Press. Andrew H. Walker/WireImage. George Pimentel/WireImage. Lulu*/www.cwc-i.com. Terry Doyle

What is Placebo, or The Power of the Mind to Heal the Body

The idea that the mind can heal the body is most often associated with pseudoscience—and usually rightly so. Cancer patients can't think of a way to heal; depression will not help eliminate the disease.

On the other hand, think about the placebo effect and the subjective improvements that come with people taking counterfeit drugs. It is clear that mind and body work in tandem when it comes to our expertise in treating certain physical ailments—but which ones and to what extent?

In a new book, Cure: A Journey Into the Science of Mind Over Body, writer Jo Marchant addresses this issue by exploring the ways many scientists are trying to exploit the placebo effect. to improve the treatment process. Marchand writes like a skeptic, reporting only those facts that can be proven; with a background in microbiology, she makes fascinating contrasts with some of the alternative procedures. In a recent interview with US Science, she talked about the real physiological and biochemical changes that can occur in the brain and body as a result of fake procedures.

  • Placebo effect: how do thoughts affect our body?

The idea that the mind can contribute to physical healing is undeniably fascinating. At the same time, it is quite close to pseudoscience - according to claims often made against it. What makes you choose this topic?

Perhaps the fact that it is so close to pseudoscience is what really interests me. On the one hand, it is common knowledge that common sense, mind and body interact with each other. We all know this: if you, for example, miraculously did not get hit by a car, you can feel how fast your heart is beating; we are constantly aware of how much the mental state affects the physiology - and this is understandable.

However, when it comes to health, there are many controversial issues. You get a lot of assurances from alternative doctors that the mind can heal the body, cure cancer, or, for example, get rid of paralysis after a broken neck - all these strange, implausible assurances. On the other hand, there are skeptics who reject the very idea that the mind can have any role in health and call it all quackery.

I found it interesting why it is so difficult to have an informed dialogue on this topic, and I also became interested in the origins of all these contradictions. So I decided to explore this topic on my own, from a slightly critical but non-judgmental point of view, in order to objectively evaluate all the existing evidence.

  • Theory of Embodied Consciousness: Body and Mind - One?

Have you discovered, after your research, the reasons why many of us (especially in the Western community) consider the body and mind to be discrete entities?

This is due to many reasons, the roots of which go back centuries. Many people remember the philosopher Descartes, who initiated the idea of ​​the separation of mind and body. He discovered the difference between the physical body, which can be measured and studied scientifically, and the immeasurable spirit or soul, which cannot be studied scientifically. Of course, the idea of ​​certain phenomena in our heads is no longer new, and many scientists understand that a certain configuration of neurons in our brain can affect the body.

However, there is still a relic of the past - the idea that the mind and body are separate, and that the mind - thoughts, emotions, feelings - is less real and therefore an unsuitable topic for scientific consideration . Take, for example, a study on patients self-healing from pain. Often, such studies are less rigorous than those involving physically measurable parameters or tests.

There is also the fact that today we rely on clinical data and test drugs and drugs against placebo. Of course, it is important to understand that drugs and treatments do work and that the placebo effect is not made up by us. On the other hand, all of this focuses attention on the direct impact of these methods and drugs, overriding other things, such as our expectations or social interactions in the process of treatment. These concepts influence our behavior as patients, but they seem to be relegated to the background or ignored because they cannot be measured.

  • Mozart as Medicine: The Scientific Facts about the Health Benefits of Music

When people refer to the placebo effect, they often mean they are being fooled. In your book, you state otherwise.

The phrase "placebo effect" is often used in society in different senses, and it is because of this that all these contradictions occur. The only thing it can mean for sure is a study where one group gets a real drug and the other a fake, placebo. The placebo effect in this case means any improvement that occurs during the course of the study.

There are many explanations for this fact, for example, that many people would get better anyway, regardless of the medication they take. Or simply there are static fluctuations in the symptoms of the disease.

However, scientists have found that in addition to all these effects, placebos have real, measurable biological effects on the mind and body—similar to those of real drugs. Another meaning of the expression "placebo effect" refers to these changes.

Surprisingly, people often think that when taking a placebo for pain relief, the effect is fictitious, not real. This is just a feature of perception - perhaps you just thought that you were in pain, but in fact it was not. However, neurologists are discovering real measurable biological changes after taking a placebo.

For example, a placebo pain reliever can trigger the release of endorphins into the brain, the real pain-relieving elements that are the ingredients that painkillers like morphine were developed with. Thus, a placebo pain reliever works in the same biochemical sense as real drugs. Patients with Parkinson's disease, when taking a placebo, will receive a release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain, which is what happens when taking real drugs. In each of these cases, biochemical changes occur, similar to those that occur when taking pills.

Painkiller placebo can trigger the release of endorphins in the brain - real elements that relieve pain

How does all this help us evaluate the effectiveness of drugs versus placebo? For example, speaking of flibanserin - the female analogue of Viagra - in the course of clinical studies of which it was proved that its action is not reproducible with a placebo.

It's all pretty complicated, isn't it? Placebo-controlled studies designed specifically to investigate the effects of a drug or treatment that can then be compared to a placebo.

It's great if it's the drug that's being researched. However, when it comes to other things, such as how the mind affects health or the symptoms of illness, such studies are not suitable.

For example, acupuncture. When testing acupuncture versus fake acupuncture, where the needles are inserted in the wrong places and do not penetrate the skin properly, there is no significant difference. As a rule, this statement is used to prove the uselessness of acupuncture in principle.

An interesting study was conducted in Germany, which involved more than a thousand people with chronic back pain. Participants were divided into two groups, one of which received sessions of real acupuncture, and the second - sessions of sham acupuncture. The third group underwent conventional treatment—painkillers, exercise, and physical therapy; patients in this group did not even get half as well after treatment as those who were treated with acupuncture. That is, even if acupuncture is no better than placebo, it still works, unlike drugs.

All this happens because the healing process includes the healing ritual itself, expectations and hope, social interaction. For this reason, if something does not have a real effect - like acupuncture - it can still be better for patients in some ways than drugs.

This is why I believe that when conducting research, you need to be sure that all components of the treatment are used.

  • Why expensive wine always tastes better, or the placebo effect in marketing

Some conditions are affected by placebo and some are not. Can you give examples?

Obviously, in dangerous diseases like cancer, positive thinking is not a cure - traditional medicine is required. But it can help manage the symptoms: Special therapy can help you get through the tough cycles of chemotherapy. Even in severe and dangerous illnesses, the role of the mind is obvious, but the mind will not help in such cases to cure the disease itself.

There are other examples - say, taking a statin for high cholesterol: as far as I know, taking a placebo does not affect cholesterol or blood sugar in any way, that is, the mind in these cases has no effect.

However, there is one area where taking a placebo has a strong and immediate effect: these are the subjective symptoms we experience, such as nausea, fatigue, pain and depression.

There are many diseases in which these symptoms are a real problem, from arthritis and multiple sclerosis to cancer. People have such a strong idea of ​​how these symptoms work (such as pain) that they begin to physically affect the body. It is important that our experience of this impact is created and controlled by the brain.

If we are stressed, this is a warning signal that is amplified by the brain - and we begin to feel pain, nausea and other symptoms listed. When we feel support and care, the brain seems to think that the crisis has passed and danger signals are no longer needed; this alleviates the symptoms and explains the good effect of the placebo in situations like this. Taking a placebo—a remedy that you think is effective—tells the brain that the crisis has passed and there is no longer a need for all these symptoms.

There are cases in which placebos work more than just relieve symptoms. Placebo affects the immune system for allergies or autoimmune diseases. Our conscious expectation - the thought that we are taking real medicine - does not affect the state of immunity.

But there is another way, biological conditioning, that is, the state in which we perceive the connection between the drug and the physical effect - and this affects the immune system.

For example, if you have taken a drug that suppresses the immune system several times, your body remembers the relationship between the drug and the state of the immune system. If you continue to take the placebo as the drug, your body will respond with a suppressed immune system. This happens automatically and does not depend on your perception of the medication you are taking.

  • Coping with stress: what the stories of WWII famine survivors teach

Does this potentially suggest that patients can be treated by alternating between placebo and real drugs?

That's right, it could reduce drug dependency for everything from organ transplants to autoimmune diseases. A placebo will help reduce the side effects of drug toxicity as well as reduce costs.

The question in introducing all this into medical practice is - does it fool the patients? What about the ethical side of treatment?

This is a constant barrier to placebo use, the claim that you are fooling patients into thinking they are taking the real drug.

There is one recent study that suggests there are many ways to use a placebo without fooling anyone.

There are studies that show that when you take a placebo - and you know it's a placebo - it still works. It may not work as well as the real medicine, but it can still provide a significant improvement. These studies cover irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and Addison's disease.

This is most likely due to the feelings of care and support experienced by patients. The effect of taking any drug consists of the direct effect of the drug and the placebo effect, and in some cases, high cholesterol or chemotherapy for cancer, only the direct effect of the drug. The placebo effect in such cases is very small, in contrast to symptoms such as pain or depression, for which it means a lot. In such cases, understanding how to enhance the placebo effect will help patients respond more strongly to real drugs.

The idea of ​​alternating real pills with placebos is a learned association that becomes automatic: if you imagine biting into a lemon, you will feel a very real tingle in the back of your mouth. This happens automatically, whether or not you are actually going to bite the lemon.

It's the same with the immune system response to immunosuppressive drugs - you can perfectly understand that this is a placebo, because in all the studies that have been done, people knew what was happening. This is the way to deal with ethical issues - because this is a way to get the same benefits, but using a lower dose of a real drug. Most patients are calm about this, because they themselves want to reduce their dependence on pills.

All studies prove that the experience you get after taking a placebo is not fooling around. These are real biological changes that underlie differences in symptoms. It's not just your imagination.

High conversions!

Source: nymag.comimage source jambilardi


Full body healing. Create your own path to physical, emotional, energetic and spiritual health

Emily A. Francis

Whole Body Healing: Create Your Own Path to Physical, Emotional, Energetic & Spiritual Wellness

© 2020 by Emily A. Francis

© Russian translation, Russian edition, layout. JSC Publishing Group Ves, 2020

* * *

Dear Reader!

I am sincerely grateful that you took the book of our publishing house into your hands.

Our wonderful team selects and prepares manuscripts with great care. They inspire people to take care of their lives, the lives of loved ones and our beloved Motherland. Our spiritual culture originates in the depths of millennia. Its basis is freedom, love and compassion. The harsh climatic conditions and large expanses of Russia give birth to courageous people with a sensitive soul - this is the ideal of a Russian person. We will be glad if our books help you become such a person and strengthen your virtues.

We believe that spiritual striving is a solid foundation for a fulfilling life and can manifest itself in any area of ​​human activity. It can be family and child-rearing, science and culture, art and religious activities, entrepreneurship and public administration. Revive the light of the soul in yourself, support it in others. It is this effort that creates new opportunities, inspires us to care for others, contributes to the growth of both personal and social well-being.

Yours truly,

Owner of the Ves Publishing Group

Petr Lisovsky

Thank you for joining my journey. Always remember... You are capable of everything, you are energetic, you are strong, you are irresistible. You have amazing intuition. You can handle any challenge that comes your way. You deserve to live a happy and healthy life. Never give up.


You can be healed. I know it's true, but I also know it's not always easy to accept. When everyone around me tried to instill this idea in me, especially in the most difficult moments of my illness, I so badly wanted to believe them. But I was afraid, because a thin voice somewhere inside repeated: “What if it doesn’t work out? What if healing is possible for everyone, but not for me?

In 2010, after suffering from debilitating chronic Lyme disease for nearly a decade, I had an epiphany: if I really want to heal, it's not just the body that needs to be healed. In search of something that could help me, I literally traveled the whole world from Los Angeles to Chicago and even visited India. In addition to Lyme disease, I had a bunch of other diseases: autoimmune thyroiditis, brain damage, neuropathy, arthritis, and many others.

I was only in my early twenties, but my body was falling apart. It was clear that all the methods that I had tried at that time to regain my full life and health were not working. The exit suggested itself. After all the failed attempts, when I was treated by others, I had to heal myself somehow. The only problem was that I had no idea was . With the plethora of physical symptoms and emotional issues that always accompany chronic illness, I sometimes wasn't sure I could get through another day, let alone repair a broken body.

However, I realized that it was possible. Maybe not always easily and naturally, but at least it is. Man needs someone to show him the way. And here you have a rare treasure in your hands - the book "Total Body Healing": it is about this. This book is unique because it does more than just point you in the right direction. It provides the knowledge needed to forge your own path and become your own greatest healer.

Total Body Healing addresses all aspects of the human body: physical, energetic, emotional and spiritual. Unlike other publications, this book goes even further: it shows you how to combine everything you've learned into a single approach.

How I wish I could meet Emily and her book at a time when I was fighting for my own healing. When you are lost, sick and scared, any task seems overwhelming. But Emily turns what seems impossible into what is doable. In her face, you find a friend, mother and soul mate, which we all miss so much. For Emily, there is no "no" when it comes to healing. Where someone sees only hopeless situations, Emily finds even more doors and opens them for you.

After being completely and permanently healed by my own mind-body technique, I can honestly confirm what Emily says: There is no one-size-fits-all cure.

Emily teaches you how to build the right methods and approaches for you, based on your personality. It gives you the tools, techniques, and confidence to succeed so you can combine the best of all natural and traditional medicine, as well as your own divine intuition.

In a world where it's so easy to lose track of your body's rhythms and needs, Emily brings us back to the inner wisdom that we all have. And as soon as you have it, you have everything.

Sometimes it will be scary and hard for you, but I know that together with Emily you will succeed.

Now go and get yourself a healthy body. You deserve it. It has been waiting for you for so long.

Amy B. Sher, author of How to Heal Yourself When No One Else Can (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2016), How I Saved My Life (Simon & Schuster, 2018) and others on human nature and healing


You are stronger than you can imagine. You have the ability to change your life in amazing ways. Your body's ability to heal is far greater than you've been led to believe. Tell yourself that you have the power to recover, mature, regenerate, discover, create, and perfect every level of your being. I believe in you.

I believe in miracles and miraculous healing. I believe that by gaining access to the source of divine help and learning how to collect verified information before making decisions, we can bring our world into a balance that we could not achieve before. I myself have experienced miraculous healings many times. The first time, when I myself, gradually and with great difficulty, but still recovered from a severe panic disorder. The second was when my daughter recovered and was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

Please understand me correctly: when I talk about miraculous healing, it does not mean in any way that it was quick or that one day we woke up healthy. Such a phenomenon is called spontaneous healing. I also believe in him, but I have not had such a personal experience. There was no healing lightning strike that changed our bodies overnight. A wonderful transformation took place with our direct participation. I consider my recovery miraculous because now I live as if there was no anxiety disorder. For many years I could not even think that this was possible. As soon as my mind and body were able to remember what it was like to live without debilitating fear, all body systems were involved in the work, which ensured a lasting effect. My recovery was given to me with unspeakably hard work.

When I was fighting for my daughter's health, I had a much clearer idea of ​​the whole process. I was confident that I could find the right combination to heal her. This time, I knew how to do it from the very beginning, as if some instincts had worked in me. I set to work with all my determination, wanting to find the right combination of treatments for my daughter. Who knows, maybe that's what all those years that I spent on research and my own healing were needed for. After all, when my daughter was born and she was diagnosed, I already had all the tools that I could pass from hand to hand and help her reach her full potential.

As far as my child's recovery is concerned, we were guided from the very beginning on the right path to help her brain rewire itself and heal. It was truly divine providence, and we witnessed it when one door after another opened before us. Despite the fact that it took only two years to diagnose and treat, it seemed to us that we had been going to doctors, getting tests and taking procedures for twenty years. We spent all our energy on an endless search for someone who could come to our aid. Deep down in my heart I knew that I myself could help my daughter recover. I already knew what healing was, I had a huge advantage. I had no idea what the process would look like. I just blindly believed that somehow we would find the right path.

It all came together when, in my quest to heal my child, I learned to communicate with the Spirit. I asked him to point me to the next correct step. He usually answered me when I prayed earnestly in the middle of the night, putting my hands on the head of my baby, and with tears of grief and despair asked him what to do next. It was hard, but the results were amazing. The path was not at all as simple as I tell about it. The Spirit led me, and I listened to him. Otherwise, I cannot explain what happened to us. This is what I am going to teach you with my book. The main thing is to listen to the inner voice and not get lost in the sea of ​​voices when there are so many opinions around.

The experience of healing

Healing is an unpleasant process, it takes manic persistence to sink deeper and deeper into one's own emptiness. My faith in miracles is nothing more than a firm conviction that there must be something more to life than what we have already experienced. With that in mind, we never gave up. I saw with my own eyes how my child comes back to life, and it was the greatest miracle for me.

If ​​earlier I had to question the miraculous power and limitless ability of the body to heal itself, now I do not doubt it. As long as we equip him with the right tools.

My daughter's healing came about while writing my last book, The Body Heals Itself: How Deep Awareness of Your Muscles and Their Emotional Connections Can Help You Heal. In my search for material for this book, I found the right solutions, although the focus was on emotional muscle memory, not autism or something like that. While working on the book, I learned more about treatment methods than ever before. What I learned changed our lives forever. We are given the opportunity to perform the greatest miracles, but my book on healing never saw the light of day!

What my book gave us was formulated by the child development pediatrician who diagnosed my child. She said that my daughter no longer met the criteria for an ASD diagnosis! She looked me straight in the eyes and said: “This happens very rarely, almost never. You must tell everyone about the miracle, and know that everything you do works.”

My daughter was diagnosed with three separate diagnoses and they all came down to the same thing: mild/moderate ASD with speech apraxia. We trusted our pediatrician more than other diagnostic specialists for three reasons: she was the one who sent us for an additional examination and advised us to get confirmation of the diagnosis from other specialists. She was one of those whom we trusted in terms of the objectivity of the conclusion. Therefore, when we needed to reconsider the diagnosis, we turned to her again. We were reaffirmed by the school health system. Contrary to initial belief, they agreed with the pediatrician that our daughter did not have any autism spectrum disorder.

Strangely, every time I share our amazing healing story with people, their reaction is either (1) we were misdiagnosed from the start or (2) we outgrew it . I consulted about both reasons (after all, my child was five years old, not twenty-five). Others say that once there is a diagnosis, it cannot be removed. I answer: "Who says so?" Who established this ultimate truth, with which everyone simply agreed? I don't doubt our miracle, because that's what it is. It is impossible to predict what gifts the Universe will present to us. Always believe that you deserve miraculous healing. It is certainly possible if the body as a whole is treated.

What you will learn

I decided to share this part of our story so that you understand that in the process of writing a book and getting rid of various diseases - both mine and my child - I explored a huge number of methods that are beyond any standard protocol . That is why I decided to invite you to read this book. I've already done the research for you. I will teach you how to calm down and gain access to higher wisdom so that you do not waste precious time listening to many opinions, but choose the most direct path to gaining wholeness. I wrote this book in the hope that if something goes wrong, you will have enough information to give you time to think. By pausing, we can determine which aspect of the body to focus on and who to turn to for help.

No matter what your diagnosis is. Healing is available to everyone. You can improve the quality of life if you are ready for it.

Healing in no way guarantees an increase in life expectancy. I can offer you enough tools to give you an idea of ​​where to take the next right step.

I will help you, without looking ahead, listen to the Divine rhythm so that your healing is true and lasting. When you make the decision to fight your way through the dirt of your life, you must be prepared to be alone. True healing can be a difficult task requiring the utmost concentration. If I told on social media or to my friends about everything that we had to go through, I would be lost in a sea of ​​other people's opinions. Other people's opinions are so distracting that the result is that you go around in circles, not one step closer to healing. There is always a danger of falling into a vicious circle, guided by other people's advice, and this is not the purpose of my book. I suggest that you first understand the issue and I want to teach you how to conduct your own research and turn to inner wisdom, make an informed choice and make the right combination based on the results of the study and intuitive knowledge.

You don't have to be sick to read this book. It's not about disease, it's not about fighting disease. On the contrary, it is an additional contribution to any aspect of treatment in case you need it.

The book will help you see your body as a whole and give you a deeper understanding of what you need to know in order for stable qualitative changes to occur and all the best and most joyful things to enter your life. It is a plan for comprehensive healing of the body both within and in its interaction with the world. Wherever you are right now and whatever you are striving for, I hope this book will serve as the self-healing guide you may be looking for.

These are the few things you need to remember.

1. Nothing in the body works by itself. No part of our body functions separately from the others. Any treatment at any level needs a comprehensive approach. The body and all its parts must be considered as a whole and attention must be paid to every aspect of the whole.

2. True healing comes from within. No one else can do this for you, but others can certainly help you. After all, it is within that true and lasting healing takes place.

Each person has his own way to gaining integrity, there is no universal recipe. What frustrates me the most is the lack of knowledge about human abilities.

We should all remember that the world is full of incredible possibilities and wonders. It may be that what you are looking for is not one of the conventional treatments. However, every practice comes from somewhere, and the people who master these practices are not necessarily located where it is taught.

What if such a person lives just a block away from you? You just didn't know it existed until you started looking. My role is to present you with a wide range of research, and then you can determine the next right step that will lead you or your loved one to the path of healing.

If you need the right combination of treatments, be prepared to take your blinders off and do a deep and extended exploration of the possibilities. Your limitations only hinder you. If until now you didn't believe in magic... well, take off your blinders, put on rainbow-colored glasses and take a good look around. We live on a ball, and it revolves around a star, which is also a ball, constantly emitting light and energy - that's where the magic is. Magic, miracles, and happy accidents await us everywhere as we open ourselves to endless possibilities.

Levels of the body and their role in healing

If we want to get long-term and stable results, the body must be considered as a whole. We must take care of the physical body and visit doctors and healers who understand the various aspects of its treatment.

We must understand our emotional body and the role it plays in balance and healing.

Suppressing or repressing emotions is more dangerous to health than we think. Emotions have a huge impact on our health. We must be prepared to work with the emotional body in order to find the optimal therapy and find the best doctors. As a rule, in the case of emotional problems, we do not go to the same doctors who deal with physical health and prescribe examinations and tests.

The energy body is similar to the emotional one, but they are not the same. Therefore, you must know how to work with the energy body, because it is at this level that miracles happen. This is a subtle plan, a powerful component of the healing process. You need to learn to understand the energy body, work with it and be able to connect and balance this aspect.

Last but not least is the spiritual component without which true healing is impossible. Here we are transported to a completely different realm of being. In order to find balance and health, we must become aware of our spiritual body and learn how to use it. We will assemble our “spirit team” (as I call it).

Spiritual practices are vital if we are to seek complete healing. When all the parts of our body come into motion with a single intent to heal, miracles happen.

Considering all the components of our body, I not only offer to master the basics of therapy for the body, mind, emotions, energy and spirit, but I also want to teach you how to choose the right specialist in each area.

Sometimes it won't be easy, and things won't always go smoothly. I deeply believe in your ability to heal. I want you to believe in it too. The key to the whole process is a certain moment when you finally allow yourself to heal. Never underestimate the role of this factor. It determines all further decisions. This is not just an addition, it is the basis of the process.

The ability to recover and live life to the fullest is a gift available to everyone. Sometimes for this you need to abandon old habits, change the internal dialogue and belief system. In other cases, find the right people who will not only treat you, but also help your body remember what it's like to be healthy. To begin with, it is important to understand what the real problems are and where they come from.

First of all, the right combination for true and lasting healing is to work on every part of the whole, heal every aspect of your body, and take into account all conditions. This means that there is no single person you need to turn to for treatment. In order to fully heal and change your life, you have to carefully choose your combination for each aspect. You will have to heal your physical, emotional and energetic body and turn to Divine wisdom to help you choose the right people and strengthen your resolve. In the end, it all comes down to collecting information, and then to intuition. In this book, we will delve into every aspect of the body and learn to listen to our inner counselor.

Learn more